…people recognize that their problems aren’t personal, but social.

Oh this isn’t the only requirement for change, but it is one of the requirements.

In “normal” times most people see their problems as personal: if they’re poor it’s because of something they did or didn’t do, or is related to people around them. “That damned boss.” It isn’t seen as political or structural. The line for much of the 80s-2000s was that Americans saw themselves as “temporarily embarrassed rich people.” If they weren’t making it, the problem wasn’t the politics but theirs. The perception was that anyone could make it. Maybe the system was unfair, but not prohibitively so.

Of course, not all people thought this way (there’s never universal groupthink) but enough did that there was no widespread push for serious changes.

What has changed recently is that people no longer think “its me, not you.” They think, “it’s you, not me” where “you” = society and politics. They may have taken the student loans, but they know boomers paid nothing or a nominal amount for university. They know they can’t afford a home or apartment, not because they don’t earn enough, but because wages have effectively gone down and real home prices have gone up vastly compared to what they were when their parents or grandparents bought up. They know medical care is too expensive and that drugs didn’t used to cost nearly this much.

People, especially young people, are getting that the problem is the system, not them. It’s a game of musical chairs and the people in the good chairs never stand up.

This isn’t, again, sufficient by itself for political change, but it is one of the necessary first steps: people must understand that without political change their lives aren’t going to get better and will probably get worse.

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